The leadership of Joseph Harmon as Opposition Leader is continuing to face severe criticisms from various segments of society; the latest being an executive member of his own party.
That member, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told Daily News that Harmon may not have been the best pick for Opposition Leader since he is not entirely familiar with many issues in Guyana.
“There should have been a consensus on who ought to have been Opposition Leader. If he [Harmon] was not handpicked, I don’t believe a majority of party members from both the APNU and AFC would have chosen him,” the PNC executive said.
The PNC is the largest party in the APNU of which Harmon is General Secretary. Harmon was identified by PNC Leader and former President David Granger to be Opposition Leader after the APNU+AFC was defeated at the polls a few months ago.
Harmon was sworn in as Leader of the Opposition on September 2 of this year – exactly one month after Irfaan Ali was sworn in as the 10th Executive President of Guyana.
“His [Harmon’s] area of specialty is not finance or even oil and gas so it is difficult to keep the government in check when you have an opposition leader who is not familiar with those areas,” the executive added.
They contended that the PPP is likely to get away with “grand acts of corruption” since that party holds executive power and has a majority in the legislature.
“What will happen is that the PPP will act with impunity. Because the opposition leader is somewhat ineffective, their feet will not be held to the fire,” they said. The PNC executive also drew attention to the fact that the Opposition Leader has not been having frequent media engagements which includes press conferences.
While in opposition – between 2015 and 2020 – Bharrat Jagdeo – then Opposition Leader – held press conferences every week, while the PPP had its separately.
“The PPP served as a much more effective opposition because they were able to hold the government’s feet to the fire and inform the nation on what was taking place.”
The PNC executive who served as a former Member of Parliament (MP) also highlighted that as Opposition Leader, Harmon does not coordinate the APNU+AFC’s strategy in the National Assembly to ensure it is effective in the legislature.
“The opposition MPs do not meet regularly. Many of them sit in there not knowing many of the issues that are brought up because they are not meeting as they should. They have a one seat minority which puts them at a disadvantage, and you would think that that is enough to cause them to want to strategize properly but that is not the case,” the party member noted.
It was only last week that Kaieteur News’ Oil and Gas reporter, Kiana Wilburg criticized the opposition, in an Op-Ed, for its inability to critically examine the oil and gas sector and hold the government accountable in several areas.
“Our political opposition has for the last four months sadly demonstrated that not only is it solely dependent on the media to spoon-feed it with the issues of the day, but it also appears to suffer from an unbelievable measure of shortsightedness,” Wilburg wrote.
She said that the opposition continues to belabour the same issues and “has failed to add anything new to the conversation nor has it maintained a relentless campaign for change on these matters. More importantly, these issues which the APNU+AFC continuously regurgitates during media briefings, are not even a fraction of the many issues it should also lend its attention to.”